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Can games such as Wii Fit get you fit?

Tuesday 24 May 2011 00:00 BST
(All rights reserved - Nintendo)

Can games such as Wii Fit in fact get you fit? Experts say yes, but as long as you play them long enough, frequently enough, and really break a sweat.

On May 20, health news website MyHealthNewsDaily reported that games such as Wii Fit might better augment a fitness regimen than be the main source of exercise. The games are best suited, experts say, for people who need encouragement to get off the couch and get moving. For athletes or fit people, they can be counterproductive, the report stated. In other words, if you’re a runner, stick with running outdoors or on a treadmill and don’t replace your fitness regimen with games such as Wii.

If you do opt for Wii workouts, experts say to be sure to get your heart rate up to 70 percent of its maximum. Also, you’ll need to exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week.

MyHealthNewsDaily cites a 2010 study from researchers in England that found heart rates of subjects using Wii Fit fell below the level needed to maintain cardiovascular fitness. Another 2010 US study found aerobic and balance Wii Fit games elevated heart rates of seniors to about 43 percent of their maximum rate.

However, while it’s not easy, if you pick the right games you can achieve a vigorous workout. Good options include Wii Boxing, Running and Cycling, or games such as EA Sports Active 2, according to the report.

A recent US study evaluating interactive fitness games also ranked top games for a good workout: LightSpace's Bug Invasion, Cybex Trazer's Goalie Wars, and Sportwall, which are marketed to schools and fitness centers. At-home fitness games included Dance Dance Revolution, Wii's Boxing, and Xavix's J-Mat. 

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